The Power of an Encouraging Word
Here’s the truth …
This past week has been one of great learning for me. For the first time in 25 years I have begun working outside of my home. Overall, it has been a good experience. I wondered how big of an adjustment it would be but was surprised at how well I was able to adapt. To be honest, it was 100% the grace of God, and the encouraging words of friends.
There is great power in words. Every morning as I ate my breakfast before heading off to work, I read the promises of God out of His Word. My heart was so full of thankfulness as He spoke to me and said, “Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3 KJV) and “... be strong … and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Haggai 2:4 KJV). Such precious promises right there for me to claim!
He also spoke into the hearts of several of my sisters who reached out and texted me with “I’m praying for you today!” One dear friend called to encourage me with heartfelt words.
So why do I share all of this? Words are powerful. Words can build up or tear down. Words are very precious when used to bless others and encourage them. Solomon, who wrote with great wisdom, said, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24 KJV). He also wrote, “A man hath joy but he answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” (Proverbs 15:23 KJV). I saw this in action this week, as friends bore out the fruit of these promises.
Every day, you and I have numerous opportunities to share a good word with people. As you greet the people before you, whether it is your family, your co-worker, or a stranger, smile and speak kindly. One thing I have learned is that “hurt people, hurt people.” I have also learned over the years that when we speak kindly to those people, their attitudes often begin to change. But what if it doesn’t and they are still hurtful? Then, dear friend, those are the people that so desperately need to see the love of Christ. Even if they continue to be rude and unkind, as a child of God, I am held to a higher standard. I may be the only “Jesus” that they will ever see. I am not responsible for their words or actions; however, I am responsible for mine, and I want my words to point them to Jesus and the great love He offers.
All too often we spend our words tearing people down, being critical, judgmental, nasty, arrogant, and unkind. As Christians, this should never be a part of our lives. Paul tells us in Ephesians, “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. But fornication and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” (Ephesians 5:2-4 KJV).
Let’s make this practical. What are some ways that I can encourage people? Well, as my sweet friends showed me, it can be through a simple text, a phone call, or even writing someone a little note. It can be offering to help, giving a hug, or just being there to listen to them. By far, the greatest thing we can do for people is to pray for them.
Isn’t it wonderful to know that God sees every side to every circumstance? He knows exactly what each of us needs to see, hear, and feel at exactly the perfect moment. Never turn down an opportunity to speak a word of kindness to someone. We may never know how many lives are touched, how many people God brings to Himself, how many lives are forever changed by one kind word we said in obedience to God.
One of my favorite verses is found in Psalm 19: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14 KJV).
I challenge each of you who read this, to start today giving out encouraging words to people. Look for opportunities to bless others and to point them to Christ. We are to follow the example laid out for us in Scripture, “But Thou, O Lord, art a Shield for me; my Glory, and the Lifter of mine head” (Psalm 3:3 KJV). Let’s begin today to encourage those whom God sends to us.